Review: Department Rivals (A Valor and Doyle Prequel) by Nicky James

Rating: 4.5🌈

Prequels are tricky things, they are stories that set the stage and briefly introduce characters for a series to come.

I’m always fascinated how each author’s treatment of a prequel storyline differs,their take on formatting as well as what the approach will be.

James makes Department Rivals happen within the span of one day. Two interdepartmental law enforcement bitter rivals, Homicide and MPU (Missing Persons Unit), are forced by each other’s department heads to attend a team building day to start to break down the long established antagonism.

Teams made up of a Officer from each department will work together to solve a “crime puzzle” laid out throughout the city and win a prize.

This is our first time to meet the detectives, Quaid Valor (MPU) and Aslan Doyle (Homicide) as well as their partners .

James does an excellent job of creating strong characters in a short amount of space. Valor’s behavior in just the sounds of his phone chiming with texts from his ex is beyond expressive, telegraphing a history and pain that’s so complex.

As is Aslan’s reaction to Valor, a man his department has made mockery of, including derogatory names. He now starts to see a person with frailties behind the need for adherence to the minutiae of the law he’s known for.

As James puts Aslan and Valor through the game and investigation, and us with them, it becomes a revelation of character and personality.

I won’t spoil the ending. But if you’ve read the first book, you know this is the situation that they both refer to, and think of often. It’s an important day for them both.

I love Department Rivals (A Valor and Doyle Prequel) by Nicky James. It’s a concisely written, beautifully constructed prequel. Great format and wonderful characterization.

It has a job and boy, it got it done and then some.

I’m highly recommending it and the series that follows.

Valor and Doyle Mysteries:

✓ Department Rivals #0.5

✓ Temporary Partner #1

✓ Elusive Relations #2

◦ Unstable Connections #3 – October 17, 2022 › showDepartment Rivals A Valor and Doyle Prequel by Nicky James


The hostility between homicide and missing persons division is high.
Something has to give.

When forced to participate in the department’s first annual team-building day, rival detectives, Quaid Valor and Aslan Doyle, need to learn to work together to win the prize.
Can they put their animosity aside?
Will their mutual attraction to each other get in the way?

**Department Rivals is a short, fun little prequel to the Valor and Doyle Mystery series**


Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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